Bankruptcy can help you deal with excessive debt. Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, bankruptcy helps you decrease your debt and reset your finances. But can you declare bankruptcy a second time?
You may have completed a bankruptcy and then fallen into hard times again. Unexpected expenses can put you back in an uncontrollable financial situation. But depending on your previous discharge, you may have to wait to file bankruptcy again.
Time limits between bankruptcy discharges
Bankruptcy law doesn’t allow you to discharge your debts frequently. There are time limits for how soon you can seek a second bankruptcy discharge that depend on how you filed before and how you will file again. If your first bankruptcy was a Chapter 7, you must wait:
- Eight years from the first filing to file Chapter 7 again
- Four years from the first filing to file Chapter 13
If you filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy first, you must wait:
- Two years from the first filing to file Chapter 13 again
- Six years from the first filing to file Chapter 7 (with some exceptions)
No limit for Chapter 13 dismissals
These time limits only apply if the court discharged your bankruptcy. If you filed for a Chapter 13 and the judge dismissed the case, you can file again immediately. Since there was no discharge of debts, the bankruptcy court can allow you to file a new case.
However, if you file multiple times in a year, a judge does not have to grant an automatic stay for the following cases. Creditors can still try to collect your debt, even though you have started the bankruptcy process.
You can file bankruptcy again
Life can happen and cause you to fall into debt a second time. While there are time limits between discharged bankruptcies, you can still file for bankruptcy again.